Questions

do multiple defrag damage hard drive over time?

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0 Votes
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do multiple defrag damage hard drive over time?

simon.belanger
Im building computers for family and myself for a while.
Usually when a PC slowdown. I recommend to average
user to try first check for virus, spyware.... clean up thier
crap and then to defrag thier hard drives.

On my own computers i do run a defrag every 5-6 months
to keep it fast running. 9I usually do it when file
fragmentation rise to like 20% or disk nearly full.)

Recently, my girlfirend told me that a local retailer said to
her:::
that defrag do damage hard drives if you do it multiple
time.

Is that true?

I never heard that before. nor saw any damage on disks
that i have been using for many years. What you all think
about that?

HARDWARE:
Running on windows xp (NTFS)
Have both IDE and SATA hard disks.


As we are talking of defrag. Do mac computer need defrag
? Do it even exist on mac?
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    ThumbsUp2

    The person who told your friend that it damages the hard drive doesn't know their stuff. All parts wear out over time, simply by use. Doing multiple defrags, even daily/weekly, does causes less wear and tear than forcing the read/write head to locate all of the parts of fragmented files that are frequently used. In fact, waiting until the drive is 20% fragmented is putting more strain on it than doing it weekly when it's below 3% fragmented. Not doing defrag at all will shorten the life of the drive.

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    Tech Warrior

    That is a very good question and years ago when defragging was more common an easier question, but with the new OS's and better file systems, I have seen alot less fragmentation on alot of drives, and very rarely see that need to use it. I have also heard both ways on whether to defrag or not too. If a computer is running slow I first look for viruses, and malware, usually there is something and that does the trick, or check memory etc. In my actual opinion I have not seen actual proof either way on this question. But it can't hurt, until your drives start dying fast don't worry about it if its your way.


    www.techwarrior.biz

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    0 Votes
    OldER Mycroft

    You are one light-user.

    I tend to run a defrag analysis every weekend, then go with what the program advises.

    Almost every time you write to a hard disk, you create a degree of fragmentation since the write head tends to drop bits of the file wherever there is space, rather than look around for a space that is big enough.

    By not defragging you save the disk-thrashing that defragging involves - only to generate disk-thrashing as the read head searches for all the bits of the file it is looking for.

    "I usually do it when file
    fragmentation rise to like 20% or disk nearly full
    "

    If you wait until your disk is nearly full ( of what: files or fragmentation ?? )you run the risk of the defragmentation failing due to insufficient free space for the bits of the fragmented file to be reconstituted, thereby put back together again.

    It is the hard drives that tend to fragment - it does not matter what operating system is running on them. I used to defrag the hard drive on my Amiga 4000, and it's OS was closer to the MAC than the PC.

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    hmm

    TheVirtualOne

    defrag now.

    put a shortcut on the desktop and rename it "do this every week" then set it up to automatically defrag.

    defrag will not degrade the drives.

    its kinda like this. when data is dropped onto the platter of your hard drive it looks like casserole. when you tell the hard drive to find the peas in the casserole it has to look all over the place and it takes forever.

    defragging your hard drive separates all of the ingredients into nice, neat, clean, orgainized and labeled piles. so the next time you tell your computer to find something... it knows exactly where it is!

    you can quote me here fellas. I use this one a lot.

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    0 Votes
    mjd420nova

    I usually go with what the system says as to whether to defrag. I run disk cleanup, spyware, spybot and virus checks weekly on all my units and if needed or recommended by the system, a defrag. Going for extended periods without a defrag can take a long time to complete and might overheat the drive. If left for too long, there might not be enough room on the drive to do an effective defrag or have to break the files into smaller pieces thus taking extremely long periods to complete the process.

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    0 Votes
    bincarnato

    I wouldn't put too much weight on what a local retailer said about anything related to PC maintence or troubleshooting. Especially if you are talking about one from one of the big box stores. They typically have little or no experience in PC support. Fortunatley you were wise enough to go somewhere you would get sound advice from. This question is similar to the, "Do I leave my computer turned on all the time or shut it down when I am not using it?"

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    0 Votes
    simon.belanger

    I do appreciate a lot all your answers.

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    0 Votes
    sancretor

    Defragging is good for the drive in the long term...apart from speeding up file access, it also prolongs the life of the drive because it has to work less for a longer period.

    As for frequency of defragging, it would depend on your usage patterns- the more your file deletion/modification/creation activity, the more fragmented the drive becomes. Even NTFS is susceptible to fragmentation, though less so than FAT. Heck even Macs defrag critical files in the background automatically.

    This is now available for Windows too...smart automatic defrag that automatically monitors for fragmentation and defrags even multiple drives, quietly in the background during system idle, without disturbing user activity. It's really cool because there is no need to remember to defrag or schedule a defrag weekly, and saves time and work on the part of the user, especially one who is quite busy. Self-maintaining systems are quite efficient and convenient compared to older technology.

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    0 Votes
    Karrtik

    I've been defragging regularly using an automatic defragmenter for as long as I've had my PC and havent faced any problems. So far I've not heard of anyone who has faced any issues on account of this either.

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    0 Votes
    ps.techrep

    I may get flamed for this, but at work I used to defrag our server shared data volumes every month for more than 5 years, and never had a drive failure. It might have helped that they were SCSI drives.

    I have one of these 8 year old retired servers at home, and run JKDefag with scripts DAILY. The daily scripts just defrags files, the weekly and monthly scripts are more thorough. On my XP machines using IDE, I run a defrag each week.

    Some observations:
    1. If you try to keep your C: partition clear of everything by system files, not only is the partition much smaller, but it needs less defragging work. If you keep your data files and applications on separate partitions, the same is true.
    2. I have quite a bit of application churn, and notice that the applications partition and the Windows directory of my C: partition become far more fragmented than my data partitions.
    3. I've never experienced a drive failure due to "wearing out the drive". Those that failed were due to PCs without real surge protection, and most had cases full of so much dust, that they looked like there were sweaters inside them. Every one of these was sitting on the floor under someone's desk in a carpeted room.

    So, unless you plan to keep using the same PC and hard drives for much longer than 5 years, you can ignore your girlfriends' local retailer. Install a real data device surge protector (better yet a conditioning UPS), clean out your PC physically as well as logically, and defrag away.

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    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    HDD's are just like cars, usage does not kill them, time does.

    Often HDD's will last longer if they are not often powered down (spin up is tough on them, turn off shutting down of hard disks in power options after your Drive is getting old [7-10 years maybe?])

    My current server is running a 13 year old HDD, my old parts lookup machine that still works and is still in use, has a HDD that is nearly 15 years old now. (1gb HDD).

    My gaming machine, I have my HDD's set to defrag every night with standard windows defrag. Then once in awhile I use a third party tool to do a really good defrag.

  • +
    0 Votes
    ThumbsUp2

    The person who told your friend that it damages the hard drive doesn't know their stuff. All parts wear out over time, simply by use. Doing multiple defrags, even daily/weekly, does causes less wear and tear than forcing the read/write head to locate all of the parts of fragmented files that are frequently used. In fact, waiting until the drive is 20% fragmented is putting more strain on it than doing it weekly when it's below 3% fragmented. Not doing defrag at all will shorten the life of the drive.

    +
    0 Votes
    Tech Warrior

    That is a very good question and years ago when defragging was more common an easier question, but with the new OS's and better file systems, I have seen alot less fragmentation on alot of drives, and very rarely see that need to use it. I have also heard both ways on whether to defrag or not too. If a computer is running slow I first look for viruses, and malware, usually there is something and that does the trick, or check memory etc. In my actual opinion I have not seen actual proof either way on this question. But it can't hurt, until your drives start dying fast don't worry about it if its your way.


    www.techwarrior.biz

    +
    0 Votes
    OldER Mycroft

    You are one light-user.

    I tend to run a defrag analysis every weekend, then go with what the program advises.

    Almost every time you write to a hard disk, you create a degree of fragmentation since the write head tends to drop bits of the file wherever there is space, rather than look around for a space that is big enough.

    By not defragging you save the disk-thrashing that defragging involves - only to generate disk-thrashing as the read head searches for all the bits of the file it is looking for.

    "I usually do it when file
    fragmentation rise to like 20% or disk nearly full
    "

    If you wait until your disk is nearly full ( of what: files or fragmentation ?? )you run the risk of the defragmentation failing due to insufficient free space for the bits of the fragmented file to be reconstituted, thereby put back together again.

    It is the hard drives that tend to fragment - it does not matter what operating system is running on them. I used to defrag the hard drive on my Amiga 4000, and it's OS was closer to the MAC than the PC.

    +
    0 Votes

    hmm

    TheVirtualOne

    defrag now.

    put a shortcut on the desktop and rename it "do this every week" then set it up to automatically defrag.

    defrag will not degrade the drives.

    its kinda like this. when data is dropped onto the platter of your hard drive it looks like casserole. when you tell the hard drive to find the peas in the casserole it has to look all over the place and it takes forever.

    defragging your hard drive separates all of the ingredients into nice, neat, clean, orgainized and labeled piles. so the next time you tell your computer to find something... it knows exactly where it is!

    you can quote me here fellas. I use this one a lot.

    +
    0 Votes
    mjd420nova

    I usually go with what the system says as to whether to defrag. I run disk cleanup, spyware, spybot and virus checks weekly on all my units and if needed or recommended by the system, a defrag. Going for extended periods without a defrag can take a long time to complete and might overheat the drive. If left for too long, there might not be enough room on the drive to do an effective defrag or have to break the files into smaller pieces thus taking extremely long periods to complete the process.

    +
    0 Votes
    bincarnato

    I wouldn't put too much weight on what a local retailer said about anything related to PC maintence or troubleshooting. Especially if you are talking about one from one of the big box stores. They typically have little or no experience in PC support. Fortunatley you were wise enough to go somewhere you would get sound advice from. This question is similar to the, "Do I leave my computer turned on all the time or shut it down when I am not using it?"

    +
    0 Votes
    simon.belanger

    I do appreciate a lot all your answers.

    +
    0 Votes
    sancretor

    Defragging is good for the drive in the long term...apart from speeding up file access, it also prolongs the life of the drive because it has to work less for a longer period.

    As for frequency of defragging, it would depend on your usage patterns- the more your file deletion/modification/creation activity, the more fragmented the drive becomes. Even NTFS is susceptible to fragmentation, though less so than FAT. Heck even Macs defrag critical files in the background automatically.

    This is now available for Windows too...smart automatic defrag that automatically monitors for fragmentation and defrags even multiple drives, quietly in the background during system idle, without disturbing user activity. It's really cool because there is no need to remember to defrag or schedule a defrag weekly, and saves time and work on the part of the user, especially one who is quite busy. Self-maintaining systems are quite efficient and convenient compared to older technology.

    +
    0 Votes
    Karrtik

    I've been defragging regularly using an automatic defragmenter for as long as I've had my PC and havent faced any problems. So far I've not heard of anyone who has faced any issues on account of this either.

    +
    0 Votes
    ps.techrep

    I may get flamed for this, but at work I used to defrag our server shared data volumes every month for more than 5 years, and never had a drive failure. It might have helped that they were SCSI drives.

    I have one of these 8 year old retired servers at home, and run JKDefag with scripts DAILY. The daily scripts just defrags files, the weekly and monthly scripts are more thorough. On my XP machines using IDE, I run a defrag each week.

    Some observations:
    1. If you try to keep your C: partition clear of everything by system files, not only is the partition much smaller, but it needs less defragging work. If you keep your data files and applications on separate partitions, the same is true.
    2. I have quite a bit of application churn, and notice that the applications partition and the Windows directory of my C: partition become far more fragmented than my data partitions.
    3. I've never experienced a drive failure due to "wearing out the drive". Those that failed were due to PCs without real surge protection, and most had cases full of so much dust, that they looked like there were sweaters inside them. Every one of these was sitting on the floor under someone's desk in a carpeted room.

    So, unless you plan to keep using the same PC and hard drives for much longer than 5 years, you can ignore your girlfriends' local retailer. Install a real data device surge protector (better yet a conditioning UPS), clean out your PC physically as well as logically, and defrag away.

    +
    0 Votes
    Slayer_

    HDD's are just like cars, usage does not kill them, time does.

    Often HDD's will last longer if they are not often powered down (spin up is tough on them, turn off shutting down of hard disks in power options after your Drive is getting old [7-10 years maybe?])

    My current server is running a 13 year old HDD, my old parts lookup machine that still works and is still in use, has a HDD that is nearly 15 years old now. (1gb HDD).

    My gaming machine, I have my HDD's set to defrag every night with standard windows defrag. Then once in awhile I use a third party tool to do a really good defrag.